Resulting from the Grenelle de l'Environnement, environmental certification for agricultural holdings is a voluntary scheme that aims to identify and promote the most environmentally friendly practices used by farmers.
The HEV certification is based on four key themes:
The Commission Nationale de Certification Environnementale (CNCE) has defined a precise framework enabling certification for agricultural holdings via Decree No. 2011-694 of 20 June 2011 relating to the environmental certification of agricultural holdings. This environmental certification programme consists of different levels:
Level 1, known as cross-compliance, consists of an assessment demonstrating that the farm meets all the environmental requirements of cross-compliance with EU CAP aid, and an evaluation of the farm in relation to level 2 standards and/or level 3 environmental performance criteria. The procedure is carried out by an organisation authorised as a Farm Advisory System (Level 1 procedure guide).
Level 2 certification requires compliance with 16 criteria, covering 25 control points across the 4 themes mentioned above. The procedure must be performed by a certifying body authorised by the Ministry of Agriculture. Level 2 audit plan and Order of 20 June 2011 applying Article D. 617-3 of the Rural and Maritime Fishing Code and adopting the standards framework for the environmental certification of agricultural holdings.
Level 3 is structured on a results-based obligation. This is the only level that qualifies for the "High Environmental Value" label. Level 3 has two assessment options. Decree of 20 June 2011 applying Article D. 617-4 of the Rural and Maritime Fishing Code and defining the environmental performance thresholds for the environmental certification of agricultural holdings and the related performance indicators. The options are as follows:
Option 3A => the assessment involves calculating 4 composite indicators, each corresponding to one of the 4 certification themes (Level 3 Audit plan - Option A).
Option 3B => the evaluation relates to two global indicators which are the weight of the inputs in the turnover, and the part of the surfaces favorable to biodiversity compared to the SAU (Level 3 Audit plan - Option B).
SOCOFRET, a certifying body authorised by the Ministry of Agriculture (Decision of 20 October 2016 and published in the French Official Journal), offers you an efficient way of obtaining certification, with qualified auditors to perform the relevant assessments for the various levels available (level 2, 3A and 3B).
Environmental certification is voluntary. Producers wishing to participate in the scheme can do so on an individual or joint basis.
The various steps are detailed in the following documents:
The "High Environmental Value" and "Produced on a High Environmental Value Farm" trademarks and logos can only be used when the farm is certified to level 3. Decree n° 2011-1914 of 20 December 2011 on the "Produced on a High Environmental Value Farm" label.